Yoga in the Dark

To be in the company of 4 year olds is indeed a gift in so many ways. They love the world of make-believe and are keen to follow you (usually) wherever you want to go. As I was getting ready for my pre-schoolers’ Yoga class this past week, the unthinkable happened…the electricity went out! (We did have some emergency lights on so we weren’t in total darkness bu16592313063_afa89e164f_z(1)t close enough).  No lights. No music. And now no plan! With a pack of 4 year old boys descending upon me!

What to do? I thought to myself, when do you sit around a circle in the dark? Why, at a campfire of course!   So began our adventure into the wilderness. First, we needed fire. Luckily, I had been planning on using bean bags for one of the activities, so we talked a bit about what colors make up fire. The consensus was orange, red and yellow, and sometimes blue. We chose to stick with the basics of red, orange and yellow. We put them in the middle of the circle and began to stoke the fire with our breath. Breathing in deeply through our noses and getting low to the ground and letting out a steady stream of breath through our mouths to get our fire going. Success!

Now time to meditate and feel ourselves get comfortable being in the woods. A wonderful16298399337_54ce80ca53_z way to help kids get centered and begin meditation is a simple but very efficient method called Peace Begins With Me (PBWM). We sit up nice and straight and feel our roots grow and anchor us deeply into the ground. Begin by taking your pointer finger and thumb and press them together and say “peace”, your middle finger and thumb and say “begins” , your ring finger and thumb “with” and your pinkie pressed to your thumb, “me”. Repeat it out loud a few times to get the rhythm, then whisper it, and then you can do it in complete silence with only fingers moving.

We discovered when we were quiet, our ears perked up and we could hear more sounds from the woods around us. The boys shared their sounds and showed us the yoga poses that went with them. They heard birds, bears, frogs, lions and of course a monster! If the sounds had traditional poses (like lion), then we did the posture. But if the sound we heard didn’t have a pose that corresponded, we created our own (like for bear and monster). We let our imaginations go wild ~ after all we were in the woods.

All this meditating and listening made us hungry, so we decided to make some soup. We straddled the fire with wide, straight legs, feet touching in a circle,  and made soup with fresh coconut, chicken, carrots and water. We stirred the soup and t9320136117_270acb1e35_zhen set the table to eat it.  It was “YUM”. We remembered to take deep breaths in through our noses and really smelled the soup. Our exhales cooled the soup. (Pranayama took all different forms during our camp trip.)

And what campfire is complete without story telling? So it was SILLY story time. As each person contributed to the story, we created poses and laughed harder and harder.  We forgot about being in the dark!

All of the giggling and activity had made us tired so we rolled ourselves up in our Yoga mats and pretended they were our sleeping bags and settled down for our trip to the Secret Garden.   In adult Yoga classes, this is called savasana, and it is when the body is still so the mind can rest, too. I guided them through their quiet meditation by having them  look to the stars to guide our way. We noticed they shined much brighter here in the woods, and that if we looked closely we could see shooting stars! Here we practiced our Loving Metta Meditation:  the first shooting star we made a wish for ourselves. Then the second shooting star was for someone we love, and the third one was a wish for someone who might not be so easy to love. Our last wish was13093517533_8a98b5f2b7_z for the world! We then slowly returned to the studio. As we opened our eyes, as if by magic, the power had also returned.

We ended our camping trip by sharing our wishes, rolling up our sleeping bags and heading home.

Scouting for Scout Connections

KAY Girl Scout Patches

KAY Girl Scout Patches

The principals of yoga that we teach in Kidding Around Yoga align easily with the mission and way of the Scouts but how do we connect with them?  Here are a variety of ways to market kids yoga classes to Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops in your immediate area and beyond! In fact, troops are often searching for good troop activities, and we have that and a wonderful badge (they LOVE badges), too.

Connecting ~

  1.  If you are currently running classes, start with your students and simply ask, “anyone here in Girl/Boy Scouts?”  If yes, let the student’s mom know you would love to host a troop. If you can get the leaders name and make the contact yourself to set up the program.
  2. Girl Scouts run on a local, district, regional and national level. Our town has 2 coordinators. I let them know of the opportunity I had available for all troops and asked if they would disseminate the information to all of their troops; remember, they are looking for opportunities and you have them. An email introducing yourself and what you have to offer is a great way to start. Also remember, the easier you make it for them to give out your information the more likely they are to do it. Also since I have my own studio, I offered to host their leaders’ meeting here and have flyers of upcoming opportunities always available for them. They are happy to market for me as a thank you. Create win-win opportunities when possible.
  3. Volunteer for the Scouts – Most towns or districts have an Encampment or Jamboree.  I offered to do a workshop at the last 2 Town-wide Encampments.  I taught to 150 girl scouts in two hours.  They were quick ½ hour sessions, and, yes, troops ended up booking full classes from this!
  4. Look for Opportunities – Our Girl Scout Council has a mother-daughter event for those girls who share their moms as leaders with their troops.  I did the event one year at $10 a pair (and let them know what a deal they were getting) and had 15 pair of moms and daughters. If you do the math it is not a bad pay for an hour’s work and yes more bookings happened for their troops!  If your local council does not have this type of event you can suggest it AND host the first one.
  5. Opportunities are everywhere – if there are children around, there is a great chance that there is a possibility to teach a class. So simply let people know what you do. You are a walking marketing tool for your business in how you present yourself & how you act. So if you are living your yoga, chances are people will ask for your secret, especially with kids.  I was performing for little kids at a local ice cream shop and got to talking with one of the moms there. Turns out she is a troop leader for a 5th grade and 3rd grade.  She booked both of them with me, and she is in another town. Once someone has a great experience they will begin the marketing for you! Then volunteer for their Encampment and the circle begins again!

Marketing beyond ~
Once you have a troop in, make sure you try to keep the connection going. If they have opted for the patch I attach it to my current class offering AND make sure my birthday parties are listed too.

I also try to collect emails from everyone who participate and then send a thank you email following the class and a coupon for another class.

Other things to consider ~
Keep your prices fair for everyone.  I am outside the Boston area and charge $10 per child and an extra $2 if they want the badge.

Make a plan for yourself and write it down. How many troops and/or individuals do want to work with? That will be your guide for how to proceed.

Remember to make it relevant for what the troop leader is hoping for.  I have a conversation with the leader and decide the focus, and it is usually how to be kind to yourself and others, how to help them relax and how to really love/like who you are right now.

While most of this has been geared towards Girl Scouts, I have had a few Cub Scouts participate. Be open to what opportunities present. Hopefully you now have a bit more direction in how to make a connection to this incredible group of Scouting.  We are in the same business when you think of it ~ building strong, confident children who given the right tools can change the world around them.

Good luck and happy scouting for Scouts!